Cool park to explore. You can see a full description of this hiking/camping trip in my last post.
[35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. Click here for more photos of Tennessee.]
Seyðisfjörður is one of my favorite little towns in Iceland. Tucked into a cozy valley at the base of a fjord, this artsy community is full of color and quirk. The drive there from Egilsstaðir (a rather mundane city) has merit on its own. A drive up over a mountain provides spectacular views of Egilsstaðir (pictures 3-5), a mountain plateau covered in snow most of the year (above and below), a stunning waterfall (picture 6), and breathtaking views of Seyðisfjörður from above (last two photos).
Dettifoss is a mind blowing spectacle of nature. It’s in Iceland’s Vatnajökull National Park, home of the Vatnajökull, the largest glacier in Europe. It is the most powerful waterfall in Europe. The sheer force of the water thundering over the drop is mesmerizing (see this video at 2:00 for proof), and the spray from the falls will soak you on a windy day.
The last time I visited Dettifoss it was late June and the edges of the canyon were lush and green and there was a rainbow. This time, it was earlier in the summer, late May, and the edges of the canyon were coated in crazy swirls of ice from the waterfall’s mist that had mixed with the rich, volcanic black silt beneath it. It was incredible.
For much of the south coast stretch of the Ring Road, the road runs along the base of dramatic cliff left behind when the coastline receded (within recorded history). About halfway between Reykjavík and Skaftafell, the river Skógá comes thundering over the cliff edge into a shallow ravine created by the falls.
You can either walk up to the top of the waterfall or walk in very close to its base. The ground in the ravine is all black sand, creating a vivid contrast with the white-blue water of the falls and the lush green moss clinging to the rocks around it.
I made a third trip to Glymur (incidentally the place I shot my first roll of film, starting this whole blog adventure in earnest) in April while my boyfriend was visiting for a few weeks. We rented a car with two friends. The weather on the way there was spectacular, if a little windy, but unfortunately when we got to the canyon, we were faced with strong wind and icy rain almost the entire hike. The river was too flooded to cross on the wire (in the summer there’s a footbridge, but in the winter only a guiding wire that you can shimmy across if you’re brave); in fact, some friends had tried to get across the flooded river on the wire the day before and ended up getting soaked and stuck and having to call Search and Rescue (we didn’t hear about this until after we made our trek). My camera lens got foggy and wet at the top, but it makes for some fun lens effects.
Glymur is the second tallest waterfall in Iceland. The river Botnsá flows from the lake Hvalvatn along a flat area before plunging 196 meters down the cliff. The word glymur means crash/rumble in Icelandic and refers to the enormous sound of the rushing falls.
[35mm film taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. Click here for more pictures of Glymur in Iceland]
According to the sagas (in other words, as legend has it…), Icelandic chieftains made the decision to peacefully convert to Christianity in the year 1000 ad. They saw the problems that were already arising from having two different religions in the small country. So, they asked the Lawspeaker (the most influential man in the country- called a lawspeaker because would recite the law every year at the parliment) to decide which religion would be best for Iceland. Lawspeaker Þorgeir Ljósvetningagoði laid down in his tent for 24 hours thinking. When he emerged, he declared everyone would be Christian (although pagans could still practice privately). On his way home from the Alþingi, the Icelandic yearly parliament of chieftains, Þorgeir threw his statues of Norse gods into this powerful waterfall as a sign of his commitment to the new Christian God. That, the sagas claim, is why this place is called Goðafoss (Waterfall of the Gods).Goðafoss was one of the sights I didn’t catch on my trip around the Ring Road in June, even though I’ve been dying to see it since I got here. So I was rather excited when we decided to make the short drive from our cabin in Dalvík at the end of June. The waterfall is a stunning semicircle that can be approached from either side. It definitely lived up to my expectations, and if you are traveling around Iceland it’s a must see!
June 18th was a slow day for rides. We got stuck for extended periods of time at least twice. But as always, there were some kind people who picked us up. Including a French couple who had to wake us up when we got to the spot we were headed (over a week of traveling and camping, Alt-J cd playing, and an empty stretch of road was a fatal combination), and a tour bus driver who gave us a lift on his empty bus out of Höfn to a better hitchhiking spot. (Funny enough….I saw that French couple two more times over the next week: on our last day of traveling when we were trying to get a ride out of Selfoss and walking around the University once I was back. It’s a small island.)It was late by the time we arrived at Skaftafell. The campground there, right on the edge of the Vatnjökull, is beautiful. While we were setting up out tents, we stuck up a conversation with an English traveler from the same part of London as my traveling companion. Our little conversation eventually merged with the two Icelanders camping with their Canadian friend next to us. They generously shared their wine, scotch, and a huge leg of lamb they had leftover from dinner. We all stayed up till 4, laughing and drinking as the sky dimmed, turned pink, and then, skipping any pretense of night, began to lighten again.
After sleeping in the next morning, we went for a walk up to Svartifoss, once of the most beautiful waterfalls in Iceland. Unfortunately, we couldn’t spend more time in Skaftafell. It’s a great place to camp and hike. There were a lot of people there in June, but when I went for the weekend with friends back in the end of October 2013, we pretty much had the place to ourselves.
[35mm taken with my Canon EOS Rebel 2000. Click here for more pictures from my June Ring Road trip around Iceland]